All of us know what is the timetable and how it is useful. When we were kids going to school, we used to refer to the daily and weekly timetables to plan our studies. The timetables also helped us in figuring out which books to carry to the school for a specific day. More than the subjects taught on a specific day, the timetable is a complicated tool beyond its perceived simplicity.
A timetable majorly connects and coordinates between four distinctive elements in a school or university, which are:
Time-slots are popularly known as periods. Other minor elements coordinated through timetables are the subjects taught in the time-slots allocated to teachers and the type of classrooms allocated. Ex: laboratory, drawing room, sports ground, etc..
There are two major benefits of the timetable. They are the efficient organization of all operational activities in the school and predictable routines for students, teachers and other staff. Through the organization of all activities spread through different timetables, the confusion will be minimal and it increases the overall efficiency of the school. The same timetable communicates to parents about what is happening in the school hours and will help them to guide the students at their home. Through predictable routines, the students and teachers perform better as they will reduce the cognitive load in planning school activities. Routines are proven to be enhancing cognition abilities.
Different Types of Timetables in Schools
Even though many types of timetables are used across schools and universities all around the world, there are only three major types of timetables from which all other sub-types are derived. They are:
- Master timetable
- Teacher-wise timetable
- Class-wise timetable
The master timetable will have comprehensive information about teacher-wise and class-wise time-slot allocation in a single view. This timetable is usually kept in the principal’s room or chief administrator’s room. In a way, it is a consolidated timetable helpful for the principal to supervise the teachers. This timetable helps the principal or HOD(Head of the Department) to swap classes or re-allocate teachers according to unforeseen events like the leave of a teacher or unavailability of a classroom.
This timetable contains the time-lost and class-room allocation of a single teacher. The teacher-wise timetable will be created for each individual teacher. Some teachers will be handling multiple subjects and the subject association also will be displayed in the teacher-wise timetable.
This is the most familiar timetable for all of us. This timetable contains all the subject teacher allocations done for the working days in the week for a particular class. Each class in the school will have an individual class-wise timetable. This timetable will also contain time-slot allocations for non-teaching periods like free time, games, extra-curricular activities, etc..
Other than the above major timetable types, the following time-tables are derived from the master-timetable to enhance the administrative experience of the school.
- Free Period Timetable
This timetable contains the vacant period info of all teachers. This is usually kept in the principal’s or admin chief’s room so that the efficient allocation of teachers can be done by looking at the free periods available all across the institution.
- Games/Sports Timetable
As the name indicates this timetable contains the different games and sports played using the indoor and outdoor playfields in the school. This timetable is managed by the Principal as well as the physical education head of the school. This timetable helps to coordinate the grounds and indoor playrooms effectively.
- Co-Curricular Activities Timetable
Similar to the sports timetable, the co-curricular activities timetable allocates the teachers in charge of each co-curricular activity with a room for the activity. This timetable is usually publicly displayed on the noticeboard or distributed to the student prior.
- Homework Timetable
This is not followed in all the schools. Even though regular homework is assigned to students, a fixed timetable is not given to parents and students to follow at home. With the homework timetable, it is possible to balance the time spent on different subjects at home. This will help parents to allocate the time for different homework assignments.
How to Manage Timetables effectively with School ERP?
The different timetables in a school can be managed effectively with dedicated timetable management software. Nowadays most of the school ERP comes with inbuilt timetable management software. The school ERP software can be used to generate and manage timetables of any levels of complexity. Let us see some of the most used functions within the timetable module of school ERP:
- Creating a Class-wise Timetable with School ERP
With the class timings, weekdays, teacher workload allotment and subject associations set in place. The class-wise timetable can be created by the drag and drop feature. You can select a class and all the teacher-subject associated with that class will be available to place in the time-slots(periods). This is an intelligent module and if any mismatch with configurations happens, it will show a warning. Also with the help of school ERP for timetable creation, you will be prompted when the same time-slot is allocated for the same teacher in two different classes.
Here is a video explaining timetable creation step by step:
- Teacher Timetable & Master(Institutional) Timetable
These two timetables will be automatically created when all the class-wise timetables are created with the drag and drop feature. There are options to export the timetable to PDF format so that the timetable can be printed out for keeping the copies with teachers, admins, and the principal.
- Automatic Timetable
There is one more enhancement available with some of the advanced School ERP where you can generate the individual class-wise timetable automatically instead of creating it one by one through drag and drop method. This can truly save collective man/hours worth months of teachers. But you should be very careful in setting the rules which will be used to generate the automatic timetable.
See a video explaining automatic timetable below:
Timetable creation is a resource-demanding process requiring coordination and planning between admins and teachers. Using a school ERP with a fully functional timetable module will save a lot of time for teachers and helps to speed up the school operations.